Sport Soccer

Monday 10 December 2018

Football transfer news and rumours: 'Chelsea consider £65m Barcelona bid for Willian'

Chelsea star Willian
Chelsea star Willian
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

With the World Cup but a distant memory and the start of the Football League season less than a fortnight away, attention turns to this summer's abbreviated transfer window.

The thrilling four-week feast of football in Russia prevented any transfer soap operas from developing, but there is time yet.

The window for Premier League clubs closes at 5pm on Thursday, August 9 - a new, self-imposed deadline to avoid the opening games of the season being overshadowed by speculation and uncertainty.

After that deadline, Premier League clubs will not be able to make any more signings although European clubs will still be able to buy from English teams. 

It puts pressure on clubs to get their house in order and do their business efficiently, in what has so far been a relatively quiet domestic window.

Willian - it's really something

As reported by our own Matt Law last month, Chelsea are considering off-loading Willian to Barcelona to fund their summer business.

The FA Cup winners are now weighing up a £65million offer from Spanish club for the Brazilian, according to the Daily Mail.

Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is interested in a reunion with Willian at Man Utd, but Chelsea would prefer to sell abroad than to a Premier League rival.

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia and owner Roman Abramovich are said to be meeting to discuss possible departures and signings by new manager Maurizio Sarri this week.

Sarri has a few weeks on the training pitch to begin Chelsea's transition from 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 to his preferred 4-3-3 system. Under Antonio Conte, Chelsea relied on their wing-backs for width but with a back four they may need to freshen up their options on the flanks. Which brings us to...

Martial plan

Chelsea are interested in Anthony Martial, but will need to fight off Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich if they want to turn their interest into a successful bid, Sky Sports News report.

As reported by our man in Los Angeles Luke Edwards, Mourinho said he would not fight to keep the forward at Old Trafford against his wishes.

The France forward, 22,  has a year left on his United contract. Martial's contract is said to have an option to keep him at the club until 2020 and Chelsea are yet to make a formal offer.

It begs the question as to whether a swap deal involving Martial and Willian could be brokered, although those deals very rarely materialise and negotiations would be fraught.

Man Utd and Arsenal did business in January by trading Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, so perhaps it is a possibility.

Defensive reinforcements

Luke Edwards also reports that Man Utd are targeting a central defender with England and Leicester star Harry Maguire and Tottenham's Toby Alderweireld in their sights.

Landing Maguire, 25, could cost United in excess of £50 million after his composed and authoritative performances for England in Russia.

Mourinho has not quite settled on cast-iron defensive partnership, with Eric Bailly suffering from injury problems, Victor Lindelof slow to settle and Chris Smalling and Phil Jones unconvincing.

United know that thrashing out a deal with Tottenham and Daniel Levy for Alderweireld will be difficult, although Spurs risk losing the Belgian for £25 million next summer if he is not sold this.

Milan's Leonardo Bonucci has also been earmarked as a potential target by United, the Daily Mail reports.

One of their own?

Jack Grealish will make it clear to Aston Villa's owners that he wants to pursue his dreams of Champions League football and join Tottenham, John Percy reports.

Spurs are said to be ready to make an offer for the 22-year-old attacking midfielder as soon as this week.

Grealish did his level best to drag Villa through the Championship play-offs, and a move to Spurs may even revive his England prospects.

And the rest...

Newly-promoted Wolves are in talks to sign Portugal international and Monaco midfielder Joao Moutinho as they continue to assemble an impressive squad to meet the demands of Premier League football.

Newcastle have rejected a loan offer from West Brom for striker Dwight Gayle as part of a deal with Salomon Rondon going the other way according to the Newcastle Chronicle.

Barcelona centre-back Yerry Mina was immense for Colombia against England, and Everton are the 22-year-old's most likely destination should be move to the Premier League this summer.

And finally, following the audacious signing of Jean Michael-Seri, Fulham are interested in a deal for former Chelsea forward Andre Schurrle who has found himself on the fringes at Borussia Dortmund. That's according to the Daily Mail.

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